The World Health Organization (WHO) now purportedly considers China as its strategic COVID-19 vaccine supplier as the world’s most populous nation—representing the second largest GDP rapidly gaining on the United States—makes its moves to become the world’s primary vaccine supplier.
China has tightened its ties with WHO while that nation positions itself as the primary global partner for vaccine development and distribution. With four vaccine candidates in Phase 3 and already some emergency use authorized products, hundreds of thousands of Chinese essential workers and other “high risk” groups or segments of the military have been inoculated with vaccines from either CNBG (Sinopharm), Sinovac, or CanSino Biologics, for example.
What are China’s leading candidates?
China’s leading vaccine candidates, and topics of WHO and Chinese official discussion, includes two investigational products from state-owned China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which includes Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino Biologics.
WHO Emergency Use Authorization
Reuters via the reporting of John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan shared that WHO’s coordinator for essential medicines and health technologies in the Western Pacific region, Socorro Escalante, shared in a recent news conference that China and WHO are in discussions to include the Chinese vaccines in an emergency use list.
What are the Benefits to China and its Companies?
If Chinese officials are able to secure Chinese vaccine listing, that means that unlicensed vaccines and treatments can be assessed for expedited availability in public health emergencies such as the one occurring now. Listing with WHO is helpful for WHO member states and UN procurement agencies in making decisions on which vaccines to purchase.
UAE: First International Emergency Use Authorization Outside of China
Just six weeks after the commencement of a clinical trial, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month authorized (approved) the emergency use of a CNBG vaccine, the very first such international clearance for one of China’s vaccine candidates. As reported in the Jerusalem Post, the government “approved” the vaccine for emergency use after what was deemed successful Phase 3 clinical trials, emphasized Director for Strategic Communications for the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hend al-Otaiba, in a tweet. The clinical trial was jointly run by UAE’s G42 company and Sinopharm.